Mules are infamously stubborn. You can work a horse to death, but not a mule. They will just dig in their heels and probably bite and kick at you. There is a violent story I have heard dozens of times from farmers with mules. It goes like this: the farmer is faced with mulish mule and he picks up a 2X4 and pole-axes the mule across the forehead. Another farmer asks him, “Why did you do that?” He responds, “I had to get his attention.” Sometimes we invoke the Greek tragedy to get another’s attention.
I keep returning to the idea of learned helplessness. I think we get tragedies when we fail to act, when we fail to do when we clearly can, when we reject our own small agency.
And again with the trim tab: what is the minimally viable action that we can make that will eventually turn the rudder. Of course, our mileages may vary. For me, the very least I can do is a barbaric yawp, by God. Ugly but needful and a reminder to others that they have just bumped into another human being in the dark.
And a hope-filled video poem from the hollar: